By LARRY VAUGHT
If Kentucky has to play without point guard De’Aaron Fox tonight at Tennessee — and Monday assistant coach Kenny Payne said he did not know if Fox would play or not — the Cats at least got time to see what that would be like in Saturday’s win over South Carolina after Fox hurt his ankle.
“I think you saw a little bit of the adjustment that we had to make. We went through a spell where, without him, we were a little confused and discombobulated, but we got it together, which is a great sign of a good team that – with any missing piece – can win games,” Payne said.
The solution was playing senior Dominique Hawkins at point guard. He had seven assists and two turnovers. For the season, Hawkins has 43 assists and eight turnovers.
“I think the fact that he doesn’t turn the ball over. I think Isaiah (Briscoe) has done a great job, but I also think that he can play both on and off the ball. If turnovers are the issue, which – in spells – has been an issue, we go through a four- or five-minute stretch where we’re turning the ball over and give it to somebody that doesn’t turn it over. It stabilizes us (with Hawkins at the point),” Payne said.
“He’s been really, really steady and the most important thing that he does for this team is put pressure on the ball. That’s where we need him the most. He’s been good for us. I’d like to see him get more shots and be a more aggressive offensive player. He’s done a really good job.”